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Kim Tae Joon


Kim Tae-Joon is known for Peninsula (2020), Unlocked (2023), and The Age of Shadows (2016).


Director Kim Tae-joon had dreamed of becoming a filmmaker since when he was in high school. After graduating from university with a non-film-related major, he went straight into the film industry, working on shooting locations without any pay.


The 39-year-old filmmaker’s debut film, “Unlocked,” a mystery thriller based on Higa Akira's award-winning Japanese novel of the same title, tells the story of Na-mi (Chun Woo-hee) and how her life is threatened by Jun-young (Yim Si-wan) after she loses her smartphone containing all of her personal information.


Immediately after its release on Netflix on Feb. 17, the film topped the movie chart in 18 countries and ranked No. 2 on the global movie chart on Netflix.


“It honestly does not feel real. I really didn’t know this would happen, but at the same time, I appreciate the entire audience because my goal has been to reach as many people as possible through my work,” director Kim told The Korea Herald on Feb. 23.


“Because I have kept myself isolated for many years to concentrate on filmmaking, I have received so many phone calls from my friends. I’m sure that they also felt relieved (to see my film gaining popularity),” he added.


His debut film had to be a thriller for several reasons. An executive director at the production firm he knows introduced Kim to licensed Japanese content. More importantly, perhaps his favorite film, “Memento,” (2000) inspired him to make this film.


“I had a chance to make a thriller movie years ago featuring actor Cho Yeo-Jeong, but the project got canceled due to investment issues. Just a week before shooting, the whole project went back to square one. I felt like I had lost the whole world,” Kim said.

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